Before & After: Just the Basics

Liz, a  bride with an upcoming wedding I got to work with last week has pretty much the ideal face; big eyes, full cheeks, and pouty lips.  I can see why she isn’t a fan of the overly made-up look since she really doesn’t need to wear much day-to-day, so I created a timeless look that she (thankfully) loved using the basics that I reach for over and again in my kit.

What I used:

Face:

Primer: Hourglass no 28
Foundation: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
Concealer: Smashbox High Definition
Setting Spray: Caudalîe Beauty Elixir
Powder: Koh gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder

Eyes:

Primer: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base Lavender Pink
Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked 2
Liner: NYX Super Skinny Eye Maker
Mascara: NYX Doll Eye
Lashes: Ardell #110
Brows: Anastasia Brow Duo

Cheeks:

Smashbox Blush Rush

Lips:

Liner: Philosophy The Supernaural (discontinued)
Gloss: NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss 104 Sweet Heart

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A few things:

I’m finding that my go-to concealer these days is Smashbox High Definition. It’s creamy and covers everything so well but also blends into the skin with minimal creasing.

I start with the face first, once you get the skin right the color is easy. I spray the Caudalîe Beauty Elixir on the skin as I blend the foundation which helps it to melt into the face leaving the foundation looking invisible.

Koh Gen Do has pretty much the best everything when it comes to primers, foundations, and powder. I buy it, I use it on myself and in my kit, I love it. Seriously, this line is hard to beat. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth it because of how it conceals while leaving the skin so natural and almost dewey looking. Their products do what’s promised.

Everyone in the world should own that NYX gloss. It’s the prettiest shimmery nude ever.

(More) Stuff I Buy: tarte

Even I fall into a makeup rut from time to time. For years now I’ve worn slightly varied looks that start with a nude shimmery shadow on my lid and then some other boring brownish shade. Zzzz. I’m so over this shimmer and I’m tired of browns so tarte’s be MATTEnificent colored clay eye & cheek palette caught my eye on a recent trip to Ulta which is quickly passing Sephora as the makeup and beauty destination. (And no I don’t know the company, I really think that because they sell drugstore  and hard to find brands like NYX there too.) Although the colors appear sort of similar they’re unique enough to create different looks and they’re each really pretty and wearable so my whole palette will get used. Unless (and this is a big unless) you have skin that’s darker than a typical medium olive tone. Then I don’t think this palette is for you because the colors are pretty light and probably wouldn’t pack enough punch to really show up. But If you have a lighter skin tone these colors will compliment your complexion without overwhelming it. The cool plums are a nice departure from browns and the pale rose blush is gorgeous on. I’ve also been using the black and brown powder liners- so much easier than a fussy gel liner which I don’t use very often anymore because it takes me too long to make a straight line. For $36 I think I got a great deal, it’s everything I need  in one easy palette.

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I was out of concealer too and wanted to try something new. After circling Ulta three or four times I decided I’m too picky to try something random and too busy to bring something back. Tarte it is!

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Ok so I’m of course loving their maracuja creaseless concealer but the consistency took a little getting used to. It’s on the tacky side so it feels different from typical concealers but it works really well because those with a consistency that’s too moisturizing tends to crease and slide while something more drying doesn’t spread or completely blend into the skin. This pigment dense, waterproof formula melts into the skin hiding discolorations and even dissolves completely into fine lines hydrating those dryer areas using their signature maracuja oil.

I put a coat of it around my eyes, nose and over any other redness but I don’t blend it in right away. Next I apply my foundation then spray my whole face with my Caudalie Elixir. This way the concealer has some time to warm into my skin so when   I press it in using my Beauty Blender everything is perfectly concealed- even my dark circles. Not a hint of discoloration shows through.

You might have to play with it a little to achieve invisible coverage on your skin but once you get it right it’s so worth it.

Then I sort of impulse bought Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation because I thought the name and packaging were both awesome. I’m always on the hunt for a good powder foundation because of how easy they are to apply and this one had a light constancy and good coverage (on my hand from the tester but not my face because I’m a germaphobe like that.) Side note: When I worked at Nordstrom a million years ago, some sicko came in to get makeup to cover some weird skin problem she was having but like 5 of us at different counters wouldn’t touch her (because you’re not supposed to, duh) and we basically told her to see a doctor. But then we looked over to the Lancome counter and there was this equally weird girl who worked there for like 1o minutes who was all- sure I’ll help you. The rest of us were like SMH which turned into a WTF the next day when the Lancome girl came into work with the SAME RASH. It took about an hour for someone to pipe up and tell her to be on her way (which was strange because she called in sick all the time, but when she had an actual problem, there she was!) But the damage was already done because she, the initial weirdo, and now most of the Lancome girls all had Impetigo, a really gross and highly contagious oozy skin rash that has to be treated with antibiotics. We all had to disinfect what we could salvage at our own counters, but several tester units were thrown out which was expensive and a huge mess. So lesion learned: Don’t use testers on my face and also don’t try to disguise some red weeping sore- treat it with actual medicine.

Anyway- I’ll try my very own clean and new powder foundation this weekend and report back.

Amazonian clay full coverage  airbrush foundation

Quick Makeup Essentials for Moms

We’re a month into having our second daughter and I think we’re in a pretty good groove. My goal to shower every day (so sad, but moms you get it right?) and look somewhat presentable has been accomplished, which means my 5 minute makeup routine is pretty streamlined at this point. I used to write about quick makeup tips for moms but looking back I didn’t have a clue. I know now that using basics to look rested is what’s key. Here’s what I’ve been grabbing to look less like a zombie and more like my old self.

I always start off using my Matte Moisture Tint from Jouer. It covers my melasma and blends just using my fingers so I can slap it on quickly and have undetectable makeup that wears all day. Next time I’ll get the luminizing instead of the matte version but I’ll definitely grab another Jouer – their tinted moisturizers rival Laura Mercier’s and they use minerals so they’re better for your skin.

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NYX has a jar of lavender concealer for just $5 that gives my fair skin the same highlight and glow that a yellow concealer does on medium or deeper skin tones. I put it under my eyes down to the tops of my cheekbones. My eyes and face look brighter and more awake which is exactly what I need. I use it over concealer once my dark circles are neutralized otherwise it would exaggerate them by adding purple on top of skin that already looks blue.

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Tarte’s Cheek Stains basically apply themselves with an applicator about the same size as your cheeks. I just smudge a little on the apples of my cheeks and blend. Adding color to the face is essential to looking fresh and rested.

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Neutrogena’s Healthy Lengths Mascara is one of the few I’ve tried where one coat will do the trick. The formula clings to lashes and fattens them up just shy of looking clumpy so one quick coat is all I need.

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Fragrance. Always.

Smelling great is such a big part of feeling put together. Modern Muse, Estée Lauder’s latest fragrance is both a familiar scent and something the feels totally new at the same time. It’s a warm floral, young and sexy but not sweet or heavy. I like to spritz it on my hair where it lingers all day so I don’t have to use it on my skin- something I avoid during the months when I’m nursing.

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So I’m evening out my skin with the foundation, using the concealer to add brightness, giving color to my cheeks, defining my eyes with mascara, and making sure I smell good.
It’s easy and takes about 5 minutes- a reasonable amount of time we can all find in our day.

NYX Wonder Pencil: Swatches and Review

A flesh colored pencil is something I think every woman should have. It’s multi-purpose, inexpensive, and beyond helpful as an easy pick-me-up for tired looking eyes. I use mine daily to rim my lower lash line to make my eyes look brighter, but did you know you can also use it as a concealer? NYX’s new Wonder Pencil is especially perfect for this because they understand (finally) that ‘nude’ doesn’t mean the same thing for every skintone which is why they offer light, medium, and dark shades. I took a quick pick (with the baby on my lap) of one of my favorite uses for it, drawing a highlight under the brows. I’m not a fan of a too-white looking highlight on the brow bone so these flesh toned pencils work perfectly to create a stronger brow arch (it can conceal stray hairs pretty well), and give some contrast as well. I also have it rimmed in my waterline too so you can see how it adds brightness. Another great use for it- reverse lining your lips. Use it on the outside of your lips (where the lip technically stops and your skin begins) to help keep lipstick from bleeding and to make your pout look more pronounced.

It’s a good $5 investment and something I think you’ll be surprised how much you will actually end up using.

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Concealer 101

Here are the questions I get most often about concealers- a confusing (and often misused) makeup.

What is concealer?

It’s basically a more pigment-dense version of foundation used to hide small discolored areas around the eyes and face when foundation alone doesn’t offer enough coverage.

Can you use one concealer for face and under eyes?

Maybe, if your under eye circles aren’t too severe but concealers meant for under eyes have an orangey hue which counteracts the bluish tone most circles have so you wouldn’t want to use an under eye concealer on the face. I like Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer for dark circles, it’s creamy and has the right amount of orange to perfectly disguise darkness- it’s what I use daily. Concealer for the face is more yellow based and made to hide redness and discolorations so it could look chalky or weird around the eyes if you have a lot of darkness.

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Do I need to use concealer?

Not if you don’t have any redness or areas of discoloration that a foundation can’t hide. Larger areas ( like melasma) would be covered with foundation (Dermablend is a good one for big time coverage.) Concealer is used for smaller areas like blemishes, old scars, or spotting. If you don’t have any of that (you’re lucky!), then you probably don’t need the added step. The less foundation and concealer you use, the more natural (and youthful) your complexion looks.

What concealers do you like?

Cle De Peau is one I invest in. Yes it’s expensive ($70) but the one I have now has lasted nearly 2 years. It’s thick but also creamy so it’s easy to blend. Another one that has impressed me so much that I’ve bought it in two shades for my kit is Miracle Skin Transformer’s Treat and Conceal which is basically liquid skin in a tube. It melts into the blemish or discoloration leaving it looking so natural that its unreal. I’ve found that it also doubles as a perfect eye shadow primer as well as anything else. Consistency is key so steer clear of those too creamy (Bobbi Brown- I can never get it to blend in) or too dry (Laura Mercier’s face duos- totally useless.)

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Cle De Peau

How do I apply concealer?

Warming and blending it into the skin is key. Use a brush meant for concealer to apply, then lightly press the makeup into the skin with your fingers until it isn’t obvious anymore. Creasing can naturally occur into fine lines under the eyes so it’s especially important to blend there. The idea is to get the makeup to look like skin and not like makeup just sitting on top of your face.

Makeup Before and After: Saylee, Alison Raffaele, and Smashbox

Here’s gorgeous bride-to-be Saylee making my job as easy as it gets. For her wedding she wants a soft romantic look to match her fairytale caliber gown. She didn’t need much, just the basics- shimmer shadow, black liner, and pops of color to her lips and cheeks. Today I’ll highlight a few standouts that I recently started carrying in my kit and I don’t know how I ever did without them.

It’s just an ‘after’ since I forgot to snap a ‘before.’ It happens.


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Hero Products Used:

Primer: Miracle Skin Transformer. Her skin is in great shape so I just wanted some light moisture and to even out her tone before her light foundation application.

Concealer: Alison Raffaele’s Concealer is as good as you’ve heard. This cult favorite is light with tons of natural looking pigment which works beautifully for both dark circles and blemishes. It’s also paraben free and without mineral oil and talc so it doesn’t slide or dry the skin making it perfect for both everyday use and photography. It’s truly one of the best concealers around.

Luminizer: Alison Raffaele Luminizer in Yellow which gives light and dimension to the face without any sort of shimmer. It’s a grown up highlighter and a worthwhile extra step for those who are serious about great looking skin. I find myself grabbing for it now instead of the highlighter I’ve used for years since it’s more versatile and photographs beautifully.

Eyes: Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow is a new classic. If you want your shadow to stay on all day, you have to layer powder shadows with a cream like this one. It’s really light which makes layering easy, and the long wearing formula intensifies and keeps shadow fresh hour after hour even on the oiliest lids. I used Topaz, a pinky neutral which I’ve found works great under any shadow, or even on its own.

I can’t come to your house to get you glammed up everyday, but you can use what the pros do to make your beauty routine easier and longer wearing.